How to Establish a Stronghold on Your Personal Brand Using Profile Names

July 8, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

social media castleHaving a foreign and uncommon name in the United States is both a curse and a blessing. On one hand, no one can spell or pronounce your name correctly. My Korean name is all I have and I’ve gotten all kinds of wacky pronunciations from Goo-ta to Gay-tay. It’s actually pronounced Gyoo-teh and spelled Gyutae, so get it right people! On the other hand, the good thing about a unique name is that you never run into trouble attaining account profiles around the web. In fact, I’ve been able to use my first name “gyutae” for everything I sign up for – Google, Yahoo, domain name, Twitter, Skype – you name it. If you do a search for my name in Google, you can see that I pretty much dominate the first 10 pages in the search results. Now if only “gyutae” was a highly searched keyword…

Before you go off and officially change your name to some obscure Indian dialect, it’s important to note that your account name follows you wherever you go. You want your name to be unique, memorable, and descriptive. Think of it like you’re naming your newborn child.

I want to share 6 tips that can help you to establish a stronghold on your personal brand. Your account name accounts for more than you think.

1. Be unique in your personal branding
First of all, you want to be unique and creative in your personal branding, not only so that people remember you, but also so that it is more probable that your name is available. Want to register a name like michael or rae? Forget about it. There are millions of other people who have those boring names and have already registered accounts. Creatives names like gray wolf and sugarrae on the hand are much more appropriate. Marios Alexandrou of All Things SEM recently ran into this problem – someone signed up with his “marios” name on Twitter.

2. Try to be consistent
Not only do you want to come up with a unique name, but you also want to be consistent wherever you sign up. If you’re known as fantasticseoguy on Sphinn, it’d be a wise decision to register the domain, claim the Twitter account, and use it whenever possible. This will help you to gain more name exposure and enable people to recognize you across different networks.

3. Prioritize your accounts
Obviously it will be very difficult to come up with a name that is available on ALL sites. Because of this, you have to prioritize your accounts and determine which of them are the most important to you. For example, you might care about obtaining a domain name and the associated Twitter, Skype, and StumbleUpon names, but you would probably care less about whether or not that name was available on a basket weaving social network. Prioritize your account and make sure the most important ones are covered.

4. Sign up fast
Another tip to ensure that you get first dibs on all your accounts is to sign up quickly. Subscribe to tech blogs like TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb and register for new accounts whenever you read about promising services. For example, when you heard about the surging popularity of Twitter, you should have went ahead and signed up for similar services like Pownce and Plurk.

5. Consider negotiating for lost accounts
In the event that you are unable to get your name for a site, you might want to try negotiating with the other party – especially for high priority accounts and domain names. The success rate probably isn’t very high, but if you don’t ask it’s zero. It doesn’t hurt to try.

6. Watch out for the hijackers and identity thefts
Shoemoney recently lost his Twitter account, and someone immediately jumped on the opportunity to steal his identity. Instances like these provide more incentive to grab your profile account before some jerk does. In order to protect yourself from identity theft online, it might also be a good idea to register name variations and other domain TLD’s just to have them in your possession.

What account name do you use for your profiles? Are they the same across all networks? What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in establishing your account name? Let us know in the comments section below!

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20 Responses to “How to Establish a Stronghold on Your Personal Brand Using Profile Names”

Matt Harman on July 8th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Makes total sense. Involves a fair time investment to keep on top of new sites — but well worth it.

Gyutae Park on July 10th, 2008

It generally does not take a long time to sign up new accounts and I think it’s worth it to reserve your name before it’s too late.

David Mihm on July 8th, 2008

Gyutae, I’m definitely with you on choosing a unique name that you can leverage across networks 🙂 Same thing goes for consistency of avatar as well–the more you can stick a particular name and image in people’s minds, the more likely they are to remember you. Nice post.

Gyutae Park on July 10th, 2008

Thanks Dave. Like you said, it’s all about consistency. In the real world, people remember us by our unique faces. It’s the same online – we just have to make sure we put on the same name and avatar everywhere we go.

Carl - BeABetterBlogger on July 9th, 2008

Great tips to improving your profile name branding there. Consistency is definitely a key one and is a 110% must. If you’re switching between names, no one can tell you between the first and next person that is on a network. Pick it and stick to it.

Best Wishes,
Carl 🙂

Gyutae Park on July 10th, 2008

Thanks for the feedback, Carl. Switching between names makes personal branding efforts less effective. I like your slogan, “pick it and stick to it”.

wisdom on July 9th, 2008

If you have a short first and last name this would also work well. Regardless of how you approach it branding is a great way to rise to the top.

Gyutae Park on July 10th, 2008

That’s a good way of doing it, but I find that names in general aren’t unique and memorable enough. jsmith or tjones just don’t cut it.

David Temple on July 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Good points Gyutae. I think that if it’s an easy name to remember, well, you’ll remember it. I’ve seen you across the interweb and I instantly know its you. I on the other hand have a lot of competition with my name, approximately 720,000 results so I decided to use the semscholar brand. Only problem is when I meet people that don’t know that I’m semscholar.

Gyutae Park on July 10th, 2008

You bring up a good point. A pseudo name might not be the best if you want to brand your real name as well. There’s gotta be a balance between the two.

Irish on July 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I guess put family name after the nick name is a good idea when your name is commonly use.

Gyutae Park on July 14th, 2008

Yeah, it can be anything really.. as long as it’s unique and easy to remember.

IanVisits on July 12th, 2008

I am actually in the process of “rebranding” my online presence to match my blog identity.

The decision also came about partly as it turns out my former general username has a very different meaning in the USA from the UK where I live – and lots of people think I am a girl, which as it happens I am not.

So, it is not just a case of building an online brand, but also one which leaps over cultural boundaries.

Alas, my new moniker, ianvisits was also recently misinterpreted, so I guess you can’t really win!

Gyutae Park on July 14th, 2008

Haha, just out of curiosity… what was your previous name?

Debi_zyx on July 13th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

You’re absolutely right, and I must have agonized for ages over what I would call myself all over the web.
Debbie and Debby and Deborah are really a bit too ordinary !!
Debi is a bit better (there aren’t that many of them), but when I couple it with the first or first couple of letters of my surname, I get debi_zyx, or Debi’Z whatever I want (Debi’Z QA blog, Debi’Z SEO blog, (which will be up soon …).
I added my signature colours (purples, pinks and blues) to my logo and business card – they are colors I wear a lot – and hey presto! a HOPEFULLY rememberable brand.

Gyutae Park on July 14th, 2008

Hey Debi,
Yep, I think that’s definitely a lot better than a common name like Debbie or Deborah. It actually reminds me of DBZ Dragon Ball Z…

Jan Verhoeff on July 23rd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

One of the most significant branding steps I’ve taken is using and signing my real name on most everything I do that has to do with business and marketing. Because that’s the name my clients and customers use to find me, it’s easier to locate when I use it on everything.

Great topic!

Sue Waite-Langley on March 1st, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Back in 1998 my randomly generated account name for my brand new…first ever…email account…actually made sense to me. Somehow I intuitively figured out that I should keep using the account name…for everything. Eleven years later I’m still using it. You’re right about all you’ve written…people know who I am and if they need me…they can I can’t take credit for being smart…but I’m glad I was lucky.

Chris Peterson on March 22nd, 2010

Good point you have given. The most significant way to promote brand is always sign up your brand name rather then your name. Always provide unique content about your brand which will be helped t stand out from crowed.

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